Tip Sheets

Biden green goals attainable, but electric vehicle purchasing moves ‘at glacial pace’

Media Contact

Jeff Tyson

President Biden signed an executive order requiring the federal government to become carbon neutral by 2050. The administration is committing to boost purchasing of electric vehicles for its federal fleet, to retrofit federal buildings and to switch to renewable energy sources for its electricity.

Arthur Wheaton

Director of Labor Studies, ILR School

Arthur Wheaton, an expert on the automotive industry and director of labor studies at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, says this commitment is attainable, but that political hurdles could remain a challenge, and that federal purchasing of electric vehicles is moving “at a glacial pace.”

Wheaton says: 

“President Biden shares the global goal of reducing carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. The specific projects and policies described are all very attainable from scientific, technological and economic perspectives. What remains to be seen is if the political hurdles can be conquered.

“The federal government purchasing of electric or zero emission vehicles is already under way; it is just moving at a glacial pace. The move to retrofit and air seal federal buildings is practical and affordable over the long term. Installing solar, wind and other environmentally friendly energy production is made easier as the government owns the property and has the ability to spread out the payback timeline to achieve energy and cost savings.

“These environmental policies can also spur private sector companies to increase production of these technologies lowering costs for everyone while making improvements in the technology.”

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